Chapter 1: Gathering Reference, Poses and Proportions
Where would modelers be without the internet? In the old days, one had to maintain a “clip file” of pictures cut out of magazines and newspapers. Now, if you want babes — or anything at all, you can find them through the search engines. Boot folds? Shirt creases with and without rolled cuffs? Girlish knees? Ankles? I found them all.
Both these pictures came from stock photo libraries — invaluable for odd details.
The “Blackbeard” model boot—excellent folds along the ankle—and a commercially available boot!
Then, I stumbled upon several Japanese websites dealing with modeling. The sculptors there have solved many problems with such things as inhuman proportions, blocky hair and simplified, but expressive faces. Also, dead-realistic bodies with all manner of costumes and accessories. Truly inspirational, they are worth seeking. Alas, one that had many depictions of attractive poses and types of hair seems to have gone into cyber-nothingness—The Stocking Tights Alliance was an interesting source of leg poses and proportions. Also how to paint such a specific finish as black tights!
Here is one of the “hair solutions” I studied:
Sometimes, the best reference is how someone else achieves what you want to do. This fellow also showed how he separated the hair from the head—as one could not mold the hair in one piece.
So, some reference, the character firmly in mind, now a pose. Shaundra is a gorgeous woman and one who stands against type even in a putative ancient world. A playful, come-and-get-me sort of idea developed. The first idea had her holding her sword behind her in both hands, like a dancer with a cane that is held like it was a swing seat. But would a swordsman touch the blade so? The pose meant needing to place the hands precisely there, would there be a way to mold them in position? Hmmm. Okay, what about a more aggressive, but playful attitude? Much more like the character.
Here is the page I worked up to. The first few sketches (not shown) were done with the edge of a pencil on a legal pad and were not much more than swooshy lines to suggest a balance or an energy. But the “Puss in Boots” swagger and playful “I'll put your eye out with this” was there first. Then I made this odd grid.
The idea was to make a statue that was ultimately 8” tall. Shaundra herself was about 5-6” tall. Her boot heel was one inch. So, the top of her skull was 5-7” in scale but the resin version of her would reach up 8”. So I had two grids to overlay. The “real world” grid would be 8 units tall—these would represent inches. I would run them from left to right. I could make them any size and blow them up later. The “measuring” grid would be 6-0” arranged so that the 5-7” tick would line up with the top of the 8th box. Thus my 5-7” girl would end up 8” tall in the real world.
This was achieved via an old draftsmans trick of dividing up a known space into however many parts by laying a ruler (or scale) down so that the correct number of spaces would fall within the area needed. I made the grid that would contain Shaundras 5-7” measure first—making a 6 grid and calculating where 7” would fall in the top box.
Along that dimension, I lay the top line that would represent the top of the 8th box and used a ruler to lay out the 8 spaces below. Just so I could figure out proportions, I placed a vertical rule next to the “8”” grid. I kept Shaundras body very human by making her 9 heads tall. In “real” sculpting—statuary, the Greeks and big-deal statues—you can use standard proportions to figure out where parts of the body should fall. Groin, knees, arms and even bust line. There are many charts available or you can find a suitable bit of photo ref and trace off the proportions.
I hoped that I remained true to Shaundras comic book origins. So much is made of the excess of the female form as perpetrated by the – mostly – male artists—I wanted to walk a line between excess and merely a really hot babe. You be the judge as to where I fell.